Office Furniture Selections Are Dressy Office Tools}

Office Furniture Selections Are Dressy Office Tools


Jim Brown

Many business owners prefer to view the furniture in the office as tools instead of fine furnishings because they have clients that visit the office on a routine basis and they can be manipulated to sign on the dotted line of a contract if comfortable tools like massage machines are used while they are waiting for an appointment.

Other business owners use office furniture to impress clients and evoke a sense of prestige with seating that is backed with rich grain leathers that are smooth to the touch. Clients feel comforted by these office furnishings and feel that they are conducting business with a true professional that has acquired great wealth no matter how many years they have been in business.

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The office furniture selections that any business owner makes can be used as dress office tools if they take time to make the furniture selections carefully. Many business owners will choose straight backed chairs for clients to sit in while they are sitting at the negotiations table but will offer them more comfortable seating afterwards on a posh loveseat that has a footrest attached to it.

Some office furniture can serve as a reflection of the quality and character of the person that operates a business. If the office furnishings reflect a low price and are made of substandard materials, then the client will generally think that the business owner is prone to scrimping on everything they do and the client might reconsider granting that business owner a high level contract worth millions to everyone involved in it.

Business offices that operate on a daily basis with outdated office furniture might show a loss in profits after a time. The cause for the loss can be traced back to a lack in production that is due to a design flaw that interrupts work flow. Many of the current models in office furniture have been streamlined to provide the administrative secretary with extra counter space in a convenient and compact design. These compacted work areas allow secretaries to move about the office more quickly and perform a variety of tasks at one time.

The savings achieved from the use of these dressy yet compact tools in an administrative office might also allow a business owner to expand administrative production efforts considerably in the future without adding additional office furniture to the budget. New employees can be fitted into the current office design when managers buy chairs that fit nicely into cubicles that are part of the expandable office furniture arrangement currently in use at the office.

James Brown writes about

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Tornado kills 19 in Florida

Saturday, February 3, 2007

At least 19 people have been killed in central Florida in the city of Lady Lake and Paisley after severe storms and a tornado ripped through the cities in the middle of the night. Eleven of those killed were in Paisley and three were in Lady Lake.

The death toll is expected to rise as rescue crews resume tomorrow morning.

Volusia, Sumter, Lake and Seminole counties have all been declared a state of an emergency as dozens of houses, mobile homes and a church were destroyed. Clothes and furniture are scattered around the wrecked houses and pieces of trees are scattered about. Cars are reported to have been turned over or thrown around in the air.

“Our priority today is search and rescue,” said Gov. of Florida, Charlie Crist. Rescuers are still looking through the wreckage to find survivors of those who might have been killed.

A spokeman for the emergency response team of Lake county, Chris Patton calls the damage “devastating” and worse than “hurricanes in 2004.”

“We have complete devastation of homes, of businesses, religious institutions. It was unlike even perhaps the hurricanes of 2004 when we had minor roof damage, screen damage, pool damage. This is way far more devastating,” said Patton.

The storms hit at about 3:15 [EST] a.m. on Friday morning. At least 20,000-30,000 people are without power.

G20 protests: Inside a labour march

Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

Laminate Wood Flooring A Versatile Flooring Type}

Laminate Wood Flooring – A Versatile Flooring Type


James Anderson A

Laminate wood flooring is a versatile flooring type that gives the appearance of hardwood flooring. With natural looking designs in durable finish, laminate wood flooring can complement any home or office dcor.

Designs and Patterns that Fit Every Interior

Laminate wood flooring is suitable for any room including family room, hallway, kitchen, and bathroom. Designed to withstand in heavy foot traffic areas, it is perfect for families with children and pets. Whatever your interior style – warm, light, energetic, playful, elegant or casual – a wide array of laminate wood flooring styles and colors are available. You can choose from smooth, textured, square edge, hand scraped, bevel edge, narrow plank and other interesting varieties.

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Although laminate wood flooring patterns resemble original wood flooring, no solid wood is used in its construction. The realistic wood plank flooring patterns are created through advanced computerized technology. Laminate flooring can be installed on any flooring surface, concrete or wood.

Construction with Authentic Wood Appearance

Laminate wood flooring has a layered structure. The inner core layer is made using a high density, moisture-resistant fiber board. A high resolution image of natural hardwood flooring is glued and attached on the top of the fiber board. The backing layer is made using saturated paper which acts as a moisture barrier. The flooring is then finished with a clear coating to protect from stains and fading.

Laminate wood flooring is available in different installation formats click-lock, glue down, and floating type. Floating type flooring does not fix directly to the sub floor. The most preferred type is click lock flooring that easily snaps together without glue or nails.

A Popular Flooring Option with Cost-saving Features

Laminate wood flooring enjoys high demand due to its affordability, simple installation, durability and easy maintenance. Most of the flooring manufacturers provide a long-term warranty for laminate floors. Dealers of laminate wood flooring also provide installation and maintenance services.

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Dungog, Australia residents celebrate continued protection of local forest

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Local residents of Dungog, a small country town in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, held a celebratory nature walk on Sunday after they received assurance that their local forest was deemed worthy of “enduring protection.” Previously, a proposal before the NSW government to log over one million hectares of protected national park forests had caused alarm among nature conservationists.

To celebrate the continued protection of national parks in NSW, a free guided walk was held on Sunday in the Black Bulga Range Conservation Area. This family-friendly nature ramble meandered along the mountain’s ridge, with locals enjoying the forest, sharing a cup of billy tea and knowledge about the local forest’s ecology and history. The physical presence of the locals in the forest demonstrated their continued use of this area and the importance of national parks for the community.

Since early 2012, the possibility of logging for commercial timber in NSW national parks had been emerging. A state government inquiry on the management of public land in NSW received submissions and evidence from both the Australian and NSW Forest Products Associations (FPA). The FPA’s recommendation to “tenure swap” between national parks and state forests in order to sustain the timber industry were included in the final governmental report.

The process began in April 2012 when the NSW Legislative Council —the upper house of the parliament of NSW— established an inquiry into the management of public land in New South Wales, conducted by the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5. According to a media release from the Legislative Council at the time, the primary purpose of the inquiry was to “scrutinise the management of the State’s public land and review the process and impact of converting Crown Land, State Forests or agricultural land into National Park estate.”

By August that year, the committee had received a recommendation from Mr. Grant Johnson of the Australian Forests Products Association for the “re-introduction of harvesting activities in forest areas previously set aside for conservation.” The following month, Mr. Johnson and Mr Russell Alan Ainley, Executive Director, NSW Forest Products Association, were invited before the committee. At this hearing, the chair, Mr. R. L. Brown, member for the Shooters and Fishers Party, asked Mr. Ainley for “a calculation of the area currently in [national parks] reserve that would need to be returned [to state forest] to be available for timber extraction”. In response, Mr. Ainley suggested “a little more than one million hectares.”

On May 15, the NSW Legislative Council published a Final Report on the management of public land in New South Wales. Among its key recommendations was that “the NSW Government immediately identify appropriate reserved areas for release to meet the levels of wood supply needed to sustain the timber industry, and that the NSW Government take priority action to release these areas, if necessary by a ‘tenure swap’ between national park estate and State forests. In particular, urgent action is required for the timber industry in the Pilliga region.”

A “tenure swap” would reserve areas of NSW state forest where logging is now allowed, in exchange for opening areas of national parks for logging.

Environment groups such as The Nature Conservation Council of NSW and The Wilderness Society announced that these government documents signaled an immediate threat of logging in national parks in NSW. This information raised concerns of other community and activist groups because logging is not conducted in national parks in Australia. According to the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, a national park is an area designated to “protect Australia’s plants, animals, ecosystems, unique geology and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural connections to the land.”

The Black Bulga State Conservation Area was one of many parks listed by the environment group Save Your National Parks as potentially vulnerable for “tenure swap”. This forest covers 1554 hectares and connects Dungog Shire to the World Heritage listed Barrington Tops National Park, part of a green corridor from the ocean to the mountains.

Residents living near the forest were concerned by the proposal for logging in their area. A local information day held in June, at the Settlers Arms, Dungog, motivated local action. As a consequence of the event, over forty hand-written letters were posted to the Premier and local MPs. In a recent reply from the NSW government, the Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker, stated: “The Government does not support commercial logging in national parks and reserves, including Black Bulga State Conservation Area, and has no plans to allow it. The NSW Government recognises that our national parks and reserves are special and unique places that deserve enduring protection. The Government is committed to their important role in conserving native flora and fauna and cultural heritage, and to improving community well-being through increased opportunities for recreation and tourism”.

As reported in the Dungog Chronicle, Jo New of the Black Bulga Range Action Group was thrilled by the government’s response to a community-driven campaign. “It goes to show what a wonderful impact local people can have after they do something simple, like posting a letter”.

Obama and Romney enter final stretch in campaign for US Presidency

Friday, November 2, 2012

Incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have returned to campaigning after taking time out due to Hurricane Sandy.

On Wednesday, Obama visited New Jersey, meeting with Governor Chris Christie in Atlantic City, and spoke to victims of the storm at a community center in Brigantine. Obama earned the praise of the Republican governor who said “[Obama had] sprung into action immediately”. The President’s reaction to the storm also earned him positive polling, with a Washington Post/ABC survey saying 8 out of 10 respondents thought Obama had responded in a “good” or “excellent” manner to the storm.

After restarting the campaign, Obama has campaigned in Wisconsin where he has attacked Romney’s proposed policies as being the same as those of George W. Bush. “Governor Romney has been using all his talents as a salesman to dress up these very same policies that failed our country so badly – the very same policies we’ve been cleaning up after for the past four years – and he is offering them up as change.” said the President.

Yesterday, the independent mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg gave his endorsement to Obama. With several areas of New York affected by flooding from Hurricane Sandy, the former Republican mayor said Obama’s stance on climate change factored in his decision. Writing an editorial for Bloomberg View, the mayor asserted: “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it may be — given the devastation it is wreaking — should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”

Bloomberg said Obama had taken action to deal with climate change; has proposed measures to reduce emissions from cars and power plants. Bloomberg explained he could not support Romney as the Republican challenger had changed his position on several issues. “In the past he has taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care – but he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the very health care model he signed into law in Massachusetts,” said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg did however have some criticism of Obama. He said that Obama had “engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.” Responding in a statement, Obama said he was “honored to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement”.

Romney spoke at an event in the city of Roanoke, Virginia, criticising Obama’s proposal to create a cabinet-level position for business development. In his speech in Virginia, Romney stated: “I don’t think adding a new chair in his cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street. We don’t need a secretary of business to understand business. We need a president who understands business and I do.” Romney also launched a TV advert which stated that the idea represents a broader failing of the Obama presidency by suggesting that Obama’s “solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat.”

Which candidate do you believe would better-represent the United States?
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After speaking in Roanoke, Romney spoke in Doswell, Virginia. His speech was interrupted by a protester who shouted “Climate change caused Sandy! Let’s get real!”

Romney plans to make a last-minute campaign stop in Pennsylvania on Sunday.

Jill Stein, the presidential candidate for the Green Party of the United States, was arrested on Wednesday in Winnsboro in east Texas for misdemeanor criminal trespassing while trying to bring food and confectionery to environmental protesters who have been camping in trees for over a month to protest the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Stein has been released pending a court date.

Getting A Used Car Loan During A Credit Crisis

Submitted by: Billy Ferriolo

Getting a used car loan during a credit crisis is becoming more difficult. Used to, getting a loan for a used car was rather simple. If you had good credit there was no problem and if you had marginal credit it was still very easy to get a car loan. Even people with bad and poor credit were able to qualify for a car loan with certain lenders. But during a credit crisis these loans are much harder to find.

Banks and financial institutions are much more strict on the rules and guidelines when it comes to approving someone for a loan for a used car during a credit crisis. Many lenders will simply shut their doors on people with below average or poor credit.

Buyers with credit histories showing the slightest bad decision are being denied for loans when before a one-time bad deal would not be considered for denial of a loan. Most of the time an automotive loan would be denied because of habitual bad credit decisions, not one-time offenses.

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The U.S. auto dealership group, AutoNation Inc., says that approvals for car loans have gone from 90 percent last year to a current 60 percent. Terms for loan approval are going to be much more strict for marginal and even good credit scores during a credit crisis. Some looking for a used car loan are going to have a down payment of 20% to 30% rather than the 0-10% of the recent past. Some people who would have been approved under normal circumstances won t be approved during a credit crisis. And those who do get loan approval are either getting loan payments for more than they can afford or are not getting approved for as much as they would like to have. Interest rates are also higher than expected, even for those with good credit.

Another major concern when it comes to getting a used car loan is the loan value of the car. Many car buyers opt for very long repayment plans when buying a car, which lowers the monthly payment. But the problem occurs when trying to sell the vehicle. That long repayment plan has made the pay-off of the car more than what the actual value of the car is. You will either have to try and sell the vehicle for that price or continue paying on a car that is no longer yours.

When wanting to get a used car loan during a credit crisis, good credit is the number one priority. Without a really good credit score, the chances of getting a loan with low payments and a low down payment are almost impossible. Making sure you have enough income coming in to cover current bills and other expenses on top of your car loan payment is another important issue to consider. Don t take on more debt than you can afford to pay each month.

Before applying to get a car loan, take a look at your credit score to see where you stand. The lower your score, the less likely you will be able to get a loan. If your credit score is less than stellar, try saving up a good amount of cash to be used as a down payment. Putting a large amount down will sometimes help get approval since the loan amount can be smaller. A good way to get cash is to sell your current car to a private party and use that money as down payment on another car. If your current car can be sold for $10,000, use that money for a large down payment or as a safety net if you get approved for some, but not all, of the price of the car you want. You can then use the cash to pay the difference.

During a credit crisis, having great credit is the best way to get loan approval, but there are alternatives for even those with poor credit. Many lenders will work with you to come up with a solution for your used car purchase.

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Harper: “The Red Ensign of 1917 will fly over Vimy”

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has requested the Canadian Red Ensign flag fly at Vimy Ridge ceremonies next month, Harper told his cabinet ministers that he wanted both the Red Ensign and the Maple Leaf hoisted in Vimy, France, at the 90th anniversary of the First World War battle, sources close to the Prime Minister said.

“He said, ‘The Red Ensign of 1917 will fly over Vimy,’ ” one source told The Globe and Mail last week.

The Honourable Jason Kenney the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, and Canadian Identity, all but confirmed this week that both flags would be raised. “Canadian Red Ensign of 1917 will fly in France next month to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the re-dedication of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.”

The decision was hailed as a victory by veterans’ groups and advocates, who have been lobbying Ottawa to have the historical ensign displayed over the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Veterans Affairs cited a governmental protocol that allows no other flag than the Maple Leaf to fly on federal property. The land on which the Vimy Memorial was built was donated to Canada by France. “We know where the veterans are coming from . . . but we have to follow protocol,” said Janice Summerby, a spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs.

Meanwhile a new poll has indicated that a majority of Canadians want their two national flags to fly at Vimy ridge next month.

The Ipsos Reid survey finds 79 per cent of respondents support the idea of flying both the current flag and the old Canadian ‘Red Ensign’ during a ceremony marking the 90th anniversary in April. At the time of the famous WWI battle at Vimy Ridge, the Canadian flag was the Red Ensign, which includes the Royal Union.

In 1965, the flag was changed to today’s Maple Leaf design after heated debate across the country.

Chula Vista, California becomes model for blight control laws in the US

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The San Diego, California suburb of Chula Vista has responded to the recent housing crisis with an aggressive blight control ordinance that compels lenders to maintain the appearance of vacant homes. As foreclosures increase both locally and throughout the United States, the one year old ordinance has become a model for other cities overwhelmed by the problem of abandoned homes that decay into neighborhood eyesores.

Chula Vista city code enforcement manager Doug Leeper told the San Diego Union Tribune that over 300 jurisdictions have contacted his office during the past year with inquiries about the city’s tough local ordinance. Coral Springs, Florida, and California towns Stockton, Santee, Riverside County, and Murietta have all modeled recently enacted anti-blight measures after Chula Vista’s. On Wednesday, 8 October, the Escondido City Council also voted to tighten local measures making lenders more accountable for maintenance of empty homes.

Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.

Under the Chula Vista ordinance lenders become legally responsible for upkeep as soon as a notice of mortgage default gets filed on a vacant dwelling, before actual ownership of the dwelling returns to the lender. Leeper regards that as “the cutting-edge part of our ordinance”. Chula Vista also requires prompt registration of vacant homes and applies stiff fines as high as US$1000 per day for failure to maintain a property. Since foreclosed properties are subject to frequent resale between mortgage brokers, city officials enforce the fines by sending notices to every name on title documents and placing a lien on the property, which prevents further resale until outstanding fines have been paid. In the year since the ordinance went into effect the city has applied $850,000 in fines and penalties, of which it has collected $200,000 to date. The city has collected an additional $77,000 in registration fees on vacant homes.

Jolie Houston, an attorney in San Jose, believes “Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.” Traditionally, local governments have resorted to addressing blight problems on abandoned properties with public funds, mowing overgrown lawns and performing other vital functions, then seeking repayment afterward. Chula Vista has moved that responsibility to an upfront obligation upon lenders.

That kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States during recent years, Chula Vista saw 22.6% growth between 2000 and 2006, which brought the city’s population from 173,556 in the 2000 census to an estimated 212,756, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Chula Vista placed among the nation’s 20 fastest growing cities in 2004. A large proportion of local homes were purchased during the recent housing boom using creative financing options that purchasers did not understand were beyond their means. Average home prices in San Diego County declined by 25% in the last year, which is the steepest drop on record. Many homeowners in the region currently owe more than their homes are worth and confront rising balloon payment mortgages that they had expected to afford by refinancing new equity that either vanished or never materialized. In August 2008, Chula Vista’s eastern 91913 zip code had the highest home mortgage default rate in the county with 154 filings and 94 foreclosures, an increase of 154% over one year previously. Regionally, the county saw 1,979 foreclosures in August.

Professionals from the real estate and mortgage industries object to Chula Vista’s response to the crisis for the additional burdens it places on their struggling finances. Said San Diego real estate agent Marc Carpenter, “that kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.” Yet city councils in many communities have been under pressure to do something about increasing numbers of vacant properties. Concentrations of abandoned and neglected homes can attract vandals who hasten the decline of struggling neighborhoods. Jolie Houston explained that city officials “can’t fix the lending problem, but they can try to prevent neighborhoods from becoming blighted.”

Does Chula Vista’s solution save neighborhoods or worsen the financial crisis?
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CEO Robert Klein of Safeguard, a property management firm, told the Union Tribune that his industry is having difficulty adapting to the rapidly changing local ordinances. “Every day we discover a new ordinance coming out of somewhere”, he complained. Dustin Hobbs, a spokesman from the California Association of Mortgage Bankers agreed that uneven local ordinances are likely to increase the costs of lending. Hobbs advised that local legislation is unnecessary due to California State Senate Bill 1137, which was recently approved to address blight. Yet according to Houston, the statewide measure falls short because it fails to address upkeep needs during the months between the time when foreclosure begins and when the lender takes title.

The Buy Facebook Fans Community Is A Dishonest One!}

Submitted by: Gene Crowder

Today, a lot of services online allow businesses with fan pages to buy Facebook fans. On a side note, likes and fans mean the same thing. Facebook recently changed this because being a “fan” seems like too much commitment. Some services offer fans for as low as fifteen to thirty dollars!

Considering that Facebook influences one in five purchasing decisions, this seems like an amazing deal. But is it too good to be legitimate? The truth is that the majority of these services are not legitimate at all. I know this is true because my company used to try out these Facebook fan-selling websites. So I have seen how the entire industry works. When we first offered our Facebook services, we tried out fan packages of 1k to 5k fans. We turned to suppliers who were across the world in India, Pakistan and Singapore.

These suppliers all promised that their fans were the real deal. They would be 100% real, targeted Facebook users. Targeted means they are all from a certain country such as the United States or Australia. I decided to go ahead and try out their services and offer them to our clients.

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The fan quality was absolute crap. We’ve tried many suppliers and not a single one gave us real fans. The small percentage who were able to provide real fans used a blackhat trick called clickjacking. They basically used a script that FORCED Facebook users to “like” a fan page. Our clients would see negative message on their walls like, “How did I become a fan of this crap?!”. If you buy Facebook fans, you’re pretty much guaranteed fans that aren’t real.

I know a lot of services promise only real fans. And I’ve used these. At a quick glance, these fans appeared real; they had multiple profile pictures, a few hundred friends and information about them filled out. However, upon closer inspection, it turned out these people were actually fake. They all had the same profile layouts, meaning they were being created by a piece of software. And when I messaged them, I never got any responses. And I wont even mention the suppliers who promised to deliver fans, asked for an upfront payment and never contacted us ever again.

Even if these are real people, they are unlikely to be interested in your fan page. So there’s no point in having them? You might be thinking, Lots of likes is social proof. You’re correct, but the powerful social proof factor of Facebook pages is more dependent on fan activity on your wall, not just how many fans you have. What happens when someone sees that you have 10,000 fans, but zero comments on your wall? This incongruence will probably raise red flags. They may even know that you buy Facebook fans and lose trust in your company.

The main reason buying Facebook likes is not worth your time that these fans don’t actually help your business! None of the businesses I’ve talked to who bought Facebook fans reported any increase in sales from these fans! I felt pretty embarrassed and knew I had to get out of buy Facebook fans business because the whole industry is pretty much a scam. (We refunded a lot of our clients).

Perhaps there are trustworthy services that do deliver real, interested fans to fan pages. But they sure as hell wont be charging under $100 for 1000 fans.

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